World, Health, Africa

Blood samples show presence of Zika virus in Tanzania

Virus was detected in over 80 of 533 blood samples taken from newborn babies in 2015 and 2016

16.12.2016
Blood samples show presence of Zika virus in Tanzania

By Peter Saramba Ongiri

MWANZA, Tanzania

Tanzania has detected the presence of Zika virus infections in 83 out of 533 tested blood samples taken in 2015 and 2016.

On Jan. 31, this year, the Tanzanian government through the Health Ministry refuted reports that the Zika virus had been detected in the country.

Director general at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), Mwele Malecela told journalist in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s business capital city, that the virus was detected in over 80 of 533 blood samples taken from newborn babies in eight regions across the country.

According to Malecela, the research -- conducted in collaboration with the Bugando Medical University in Tanzania -- revealed that some of the children were born with several disabilities, including mental, and microcephaly (smallness of the head).

A pediatrician from Hubert Kairuki Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Dr. Salvatory Florence told Anadolu Agency that three-month pregnant women are among the groups most at risk of infecting their children with the Zika virus.

The East African Community (EAC) partner is one of the leading areas in tourism attractions in the region. Other EAC states includes Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

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